Despicable Me
You’ve got a little red on you.

Theatrical Release Date: 07/09/2010
Directors: Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud
Featuring the voices of: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Elsie Fisher, Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud, Jemaine Clement
Rated: PG for rude humor and mild action.
Runtime: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Golden Mug2010 Golden Mug

Best Animated Film


Your breakfast request are giving me a stroke.

A number of friends, fellow critics and friends/fellow critics have stated that 2010′s best films have been largely of the animated persuasion. Whether it’s “Toy Story 3“, “How to Train Your Dragon” or to a lesser degree, “Shrek Forever After“, pixel generated fare seems to have largely out entertained in comparison to the live action disappointments in the mainstream. While I disagree, as an ardent supporter of some great independent films this year (and I loved “Kick-Ass“), the latest animated CGI film, “Despicable Me” may be my favorite of the genre so far this year.

In the film, Steve Carell voices Gru, a master criminal who’s beginning to lose his edge as newer villains are pulling off heists with more panache and recognizability. The biggest example of which is Vector (Jason Segal), who not only wants to be the number one bad guy but enjoys thwarting Gru’s plans along the way. When three orphan girls present Gru with the opportunity to best Vector, he is confronted with choosing between creating a real sense of family or simply becoming a more respected evil doer.

Where the project really shines is in the whimsy and slapstick sense of humor evident from beginning to end. Most notably, these elements come in the shape of Gru’s minions. Little, yellow, twinkie-shaped henchmen, these minions all speak gibberish but their actions speak much louder, as they help Gru pull off his hare-brained schemes, act as baby sitters, go out shopping for him, and whatever else is asked of them. The interplay between them, whether with each other or with other characters is great fun and make sure to stick around during the credits as they continue to ham things up.

As entertaining as the minions are, the dynamic between the orphan girls and Gru is what seals the film’s likability. Each girl has a unique personality and contributes something different to the ensemble. They not only add comedic touches but also give Gru and the picture overall a sense of heart.

The mark of a memorable film isn’t just in giving audiences a series of funny gags but also in crafting a story that audiences can relate to. Directors Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud have struck the right balance here, allowing adults and children to revel in the physical gags as well as the sweet moments that will have people leaving the theater with a smile.

While I’m still not of the mind that the best cinema this year has been animated, it’s clear that the genre is doing a better job than mainstream films at understanding that original ideas that focus on the story and characters rather than explosions, big names and exploitation of societal nostalgia are what audiences really gravitate towards. An entertaining, wholesome and fun 95 minutes, “Despicable Me” gets a 4 out of 5 and definitely has the all-important re-watchability factor.

One note to keep in mind though, you REALLY DON’T need to see this in 3D. Another project whose extra dimension was an after thought, done only to satisfy the mandate that all films find a way to part audiences with extra greenbacks before stepping up to the concessions stand, the only elements that even pop off screen are in the end credits. While the problem of color loss due to wearing tinted glasses wasn’t so pronounced here, the benefits simply don’t outweigh the extra cost. Get yourself some red vines or sour patch kids instead and enjoy the 2D version with a sweet snack instead – your dentist may not thank you but your tummy will.

4 out of 53D No